Senate gives unanimous no to pay raises for governor, lieutenant governor, and commissioners


The office holders for Alaska governor and lieutenant governor haven’t seen a pay raise since 2010, and even though inflation eats away at their compensation, they aren’t going to get one this year.

The Alaska State Officers Compensation Commission recommended a 2% increase for each year since 2011, to make up for inflation, but the Senate voted down the raise, 19-0, with Sen. Robert Myers taking an excused absence.

The compensation commission is directed by law to “review the salaries, benefits, and allowances of members of the legislature, the governor, the lieutenant governor, and each principal executive department head and prepare a report on its findings at least once every two years, but not more frequently than every year.”

Senate Bill 86 rejected the raises that had been recommended unanimously, which would have resulted in the governor earning about $176,000 instead of his current compensation of $145,000. The lieutenant governor would have gone from $125,000 to $140,000 and department commissioners would have gotten raises to bring them to about $168,000. Currently they average $141,000, less than some of the people who work for them.

For comparison, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee makes about $187,000 a year, as the fifth highest paid among the 50 States. Most governors make about $148,000 per year, according to the Council on State Governments.


  1. Let’s start a public ballot measure to eliminate legislature per diem during special sessions.
    While we’re at it, let’s do a ballot measure to remove Alaska Airlines Club 49 benefits in the city of Juneau.

  2. Pathetic! The Alaska governor is rated at 862nd in pay below many of his commissioners and other public officials in Alaska. So let’s not raise any of the legislator’s salaries either, and limit their per diem as well. To say that the chief executive of the State of Alaska is worth less than some of the city execs is just plain wrong. Period!

    • Well then why don’t you chip in and pay them what you think is enough for a crappy job. Nobody’s stopping you come on put your money where your mouth is.

      • Good point, Mark. But I am retired and barely hanging in there financially, as most likely many other MRAK readers. Let’s face it, politics is a job for the rich and well connected and that’s the way they usually have it. The last person the want in the governor’s chair is a postman’s son who had to earn his way through college, raise three daughters in the Arctic for nearly 20 years and is still a homesteader 10 miles outside of Wasillla. The same thing was done to a sharecropper’s son in California who was instrumental in building the state’s infrastructure and was one of the most powerful Assembly Speakers ever. He worked his way through UCLA and had a Masters Degree in Economics when a University education meant something. Jesse Unruh would have been an outstanding governor, but the elites preferred someone who was from their “world.” The result was a California that stopped having the vision and growth that had made it a magnet. Politics is still a semi-closed club that is hard to break into. And the more people who are willing to pay them close to nothing, the more closed it will be.

    • Cut cut cut the budget y’all said. Quit expanding spending by government y’all said.

      This is what cutting the budget means.

    • Greg, he gets to stay at the big house in Juneau and he has a driver, bodyguards, and such. State pays for his travel. – sd

      • Thanks Suzanne. I didn’t know where he lived at whether it be in Anchorage or at the state capitol. State capital in most States but Alaska is kind of unique. It seems like he should get a clothing allowance. At least kick in some dry cleaning. I’m just referencing the White House, where they have a full staff of chefs to prepare the food. I know when Parnell came out to visit our high school graduatioñ, he was in a provided plane and had State trooper G-Man with him for security. If he has to pay for his own security, then that’s not right. I was just reading that the alleged corrupt city prosecutor in Baltimore makes $248,000 a year, which maybe the cost of living is higher there, but she is on trial for fraud during the covid years. I was amazed that she makes twice what Alaska’s lieutenant governor makes.

  3. Wondering if the Compensation Commission wanting to reduce legislative per diem has anything to do with this? The per diem issue would be diminished if the Governor’s special sessions could be held in Anchorage

  4. How about the legislature please explain how they justify collecting per diem at a federal rate of $230 per day, while anyone who works on State of Alaska projects are paid at a rate of $75-100 per day.

      • No one cares what it costs in Juneau. The big question is why the State refused to follow the will of the peoples vote, twice mind you, to move the capital from Juneau?

        • Well there’s that, but until they put it on the ballot, you’re stuck. But if by law a person has to report to his job in a location, then the per diem should reflect that. It shouldn’t have to come out of his or her own pocket. Oh I guess they could check up down at motel 6, or share a room and bathroom with other members. Maybe even eat bologna sandwiches in the motel room. I’ve done all those. I’m not fond of motel 6 but I do like bologna sandwiches.

          • Hey Greggy, it was was on the ballot, twice. It passed twice during the 80’s. I would guess if actually had lived here as you claim, you would already know this.

            As far as the per diem no has ever given me a honest answer how politicians are able to claim a federal per diem rate, when anyone else doing State of Alaska work can only the substantially lower state per diem rate. While we are at it why is the state stuck With paying millions in relocation fees, annually for a 120 day session?

          • Put down the bong Gregg. This is a alaskan news site. Me commenting thus means…. you got it, I’m alaskan.

  5. There appears to be some ‘tit for tat’ going on here. The legislators have some axe grinding away!

  6. The superintendents in some school districts get paid about what the governor is making and the principals in most schools depending on how long they’ve been there top out at about what the lieutenant governor is making. The point I’m trying to make is the state administration is underpaid. I can tell you that the school district’s administration isn’t paid enough for my perspective.

  7. Gregg with comment, you appear to be part of the problem. The school districts are overly compensated for pizz poor education results presented. No wonder our society is dumbing down.

    • I’m not saying I made 125,000 a year. I’m just reporting what is public record. A person with three degrees might be worth that kind of money. They have a lot of responsibility. But they’re not the one saying how much to pay themselves, that’s all being provided by others. Maybe if you wanted to make $125,000 a year you should go get three degrees and live out in the remote bush, and by expensive groceries and pay transportation costs. It sounds like a lot of money but it really isn’t. The point I was making is the governor is way underpaid.

      • You do understand that most of the people in thr trades, make more money than most degree holders. Go ask lineman, heavy equipment operator, laborer or plumber. Those are the folks who keep our busy world moving. It’s a fact that those with degrees seem to think they hold a higher rank in society than everyone else. Remember the next time your power goes out, the guy repairing it, is probably making more than you.

  8. All public servants should be paid minimum wage. It would reduce for-profit politics, provide direct insight to the livelihood of the most vulnerable among our society, and incentivize a general increase in the average quality of life per citizen through new policy. Our taxes shouldn’t pay for suits and ties, fancy rides, fancy dinners, and extravagance. If this results in raising minimum wage, we can use the excess funding to help smaller LOCAL businesses who struggle with the increase as incentive for honest local economic growth.

    We are working folk, and a hard worker who knows the value of honest labor if placed in office would do us much better than any money seeking crony would. It’s a public service position, not a public king position. Our tax dollars are better spent in our own pockets on our own families, or on our roads. Think of how many potholes we could fill with all the fat we could cut in the spending in government.

    If flying coach is good enough for us, for me and mine, it’s good enough for them. I respect the hell out of a public figurehead flying coach over taking a private jet using our money. I respect the hell out of a public figurehead sitting down at a local diner instead of some extravagant per Diem meal with 1,000 a bottle wine with our money. Since when did leading people become leading people by the nose and blowing their money.

    • Spoken like a truly jealous, uneducated laborer. I only see one solution. You can’t pay public people minimum wage, they’re entitled to a certain quality of life just like everyone is. Perhaps more if they have been educated. Don’t underestimate the power of a good education. I’m not talking about one of these worthless education that you get in the mail but something worthwhile to society can be paid back many times in a lifetime. You’re talking about changing the way societies have compensated it’s people for eons. It’s not going to happen.

      • So your argument is that a liberal elitist education entitles people to be a higher class of citizen with more rights and rule over others. That the average person is too dumb to help their fellow citizens, and that legislation need not require knowledge of the common man that it applies to or understand his struggles. What’s the purpose of voting then if our opinions are too dumb? Shouldn’t we just be rules by “he who hath the most college degrees”? This is why people don’t like liberals. They stick their nose up and treat everyone else like they aren’t even human.

        • I never knew that a higher education was liberal or elitist. Good to know. Mostly people that have higher education are brighter than people who don’t. Maybe a higher brain capacity then a dog catcher. Maybe more of an attention to detail. There’s got to be sergeants and there’s got to be privates. That’s just the way it is. I always liked being a sergeant.

          • And look what kind of product they are producing. The 49 best schools in the country. A government that steals the people’s money. And the legislature. That can not figure out how to fix this broke state. That folks is what educated people bring to the table. Sorry Gregory the truth hurts.

          • Do you keep the elitist mindset when your toilet overflows? Maybe when there’s a water leak, or when you need a roof repair? Do you proudly proclaim that as you have a degree you are too smart to need the useless labor of simple minded folk?

            Or do you reasonably admit during crisis, that specialty, expertise, and experience in these cases do not require a 4 year degree. Perhaps the next time you are at a loss as to how to stop a leak or a flood, you will gain perspective that there are different types of intelligence, and that the things you rely on every single day are held up by the backs of those you look down on.

            We built empires with farmers, plumbers, laborers, and thatchers. Traditionally we fail as a society when we spurn them and drown in our own sewage, unable to build new shelters, or repair existing ones, or access clean water or grow our own food.

      • We all know we will never be able to pay these folk’s minimum wage. What we do know is the majority (it seems) of legislators seem oblivious to monetary reality. We have budgetary restraints at work and at our homes. These folks know that we are spending at deficit in regard to our state budget, but we have to increase payroll, pensions, and then there is that monster that we call ‘education’ (just add money). The folks screaming, begging, and crying for more education dollars cannot face the reality of results-oriented incentives.!

  9. The commission perhaps should have consulted with Rep Gray first and set up ‘Go Fund Me’ accounts and see the problems would all be solved….

  10. Mark, educated people running the schools isn’t the problem but you wouldn’t know that since you’re not in the system. I can tell you that society is to blame. But it can’t all be in one nutshell. Parents bear a huge responsibility for the inadequacies of theirs children. Not being involved in their child’s education, not knowing where the kid is at 7:00 at night, not knowing if the kid did their homework and if they had problems with it helping the kid understand. Basically just being a good parent. In all fairness, the standardized tests were not written for the bush students. Those students haven’t had enough synapse development throughout their lifetime to pass that sort of test. You’ve got to have daily manipulations for the synapses to make connections and on and on. You can’t just blame a group of people or politicians who are the dog catcher for the scores being low. Sometimes you have to look in the mirror.

  11. Mark, to put this in a more simpler way that you might be able to understand, if synapses aren’t stimulated in the child’s brain, then those connections are never made and those that are seldom used simply go away never to return. So if a household has less stimulation to children like say it’s not a very loving household, that can be a cause, and the more hours the kids stays on their phone texting and playing games without stimulating new synapses, that can be a cause. It’s kind of like the old saying if you don’t use it you will lose it. That’s the way it is in children’s brain development. It’s really a form of child abuse by parents by not being involved in their children’s lives. The household that has two working parents like is common today can be a more difficult setting to develop brain synapse connections. You really have to work on it if you want your kid to be as developed as possible. Being lazy or a less caring parent will get you what you have now.

  12. Actually, it was ADN that spilled the beans. Last year the Commission recommended that the legislature get a raise to $50,000+ but get a reduction in the per diem. The legislature didn’t buy it. So this year, when it was the Governor’s turn they simply vetoed his raise. Tit for tat. Say goodbye to too much cooperation with Kathy Giessel in control of the Senate. Come to think about it, the House also cancels people they don’t agree with by not giving them committee assignments or even having them in anything but a meaningless “minority” caucus.


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